SALT LAKE CITY — The spacious chapel of the Calvary Baptist Church on Salt Lake City’s State Street was filled with powerful, passionate music Sunday evening as the Rev. France A. Davis and the church’s combined choirs commemorated “the history of our people” in song, dance and the spoken word.
“We have to know our past so we know where we’re going to go in our future,” said one member of the church’s Young Adult Choir as she helped to conclude the church’s annual Heritage Musical.
Or, as another member of the congregation said in his opening prayer, “There are times when we forget where (God has) brought us from. We must remember that others have paid the price in blood.”
Speaking to a congregation that included a number of members of the Salt Lake Interfaith Roundtable, which included the event as part of its annual Interfaith Month schedule, the Rev. Davis spoke of how black Africans, brought to America as slaves, “learned in spite of it all to trust in the Lord.”
“We discovered that the Lord is on our side,” the Rev. Davis said as part of his Heritage Musical narration. “Although we were in a new home in a new land, we belonged to God. We had faith in him. We believed in him. And because of him, we were finally able to declare, ‘We have overcome.’ ”
Early in the evening one of the youth leaders urged members of the congregation to “stand and clap and stamp your feet — whatever you do to praise the Lord.” And the congregation did just that, especially when the choir launched into its full-voiced versions of beloved hymns and spirituals like “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho,” “Inching Along,” Through It All” and the rousing finale, “After This,” with special guest soloist Anthony Carpenter from Charlotte, N.C.
“God will turn it around,” the song assures. “He will bring you up. There will be glory after this. There will be victory after this.”
The congregation also applauded enthusiastically for the children’s Angel Choir, which sang “We Shall Overcome” with gusto and verve, the Young Adult Choir and the tiny Pearl of Praise dancers.
“What we sing about is salvation,” the Rev. Davis said. “It’s about the good news. Christ has stood by us through all of our trials and temptations. We offer Christ to you.”
Soloists for the evening included Leslie Henderson, Geoffery Byrd, Charles Tate, Daryl Braham, Laura Eady-Popwell, Jesslyn Popwell, Alvera Colledge, Shelly Smith and Elizabeth Adoyo.